Tuesday, October 16, 2012



Thursday, August 23, 2012

Turkotek's Price in need of a History Lesson

Recently on Turkotek I was truly amazed by what I read. Horst Nitz made some brilliant points in

Sadly Marla Mallett responded with the worst reply I have seen in the 16 years I have known her. Marla is a real expert on structure and generally an expert on Rugs and Kilims. This time Marla did not know or did not remember that the Kars region of what is now Turkey was part of Russia 100 years ago. It is not a big deal Marla is so brilliant most of the time she has earned this one. But Marla was not the one shocking in her ignorance Steve Price was.

Steve Price wrote:
Although it seems likely that these were woven within the borders of what was Russia at the time, I don't think I've ever seen geographic attributions of rugs made to anything except the present. For example, Tabriz was not only in Azerbaijan until fairly late in the 19th century, it was the capital of Azerbaijan. I've never seen a Tabriz carpet attributed to anything except Persia or Iran (in rugspeak, the terms are interchangeable).”

I had to read it twice to see the amazingly convoluted and incorrect point Steve was trying to make. Tabriz has been the dominant city of Persian Azerbaijan since the days of the IL-Khanid Mongols. In all that time except for a few short-lived invasions Tabriz has always been Persian. It is now the administrative center for West Azerbaijan an Iranian province. East and West Azerbaijan are part of Iran and have been for hundreds of years. The northern part of Azerbaijan was captured 200 years ago by the Russians and is now an independent country called Azerbaijan. Despite what Steve Price thinks, the nation state of Azerbaijan has never ruled Tabriz. In 1945 the Russians tried to take Tabriz but Harry Truman thwarted their plans.
It is amazing how little related history and geography Professor Price has absorbed over the years. The things he writes about rugs become more explainable when you understand how very little he knows about the weavers, their location and their history.

By the way poor old Steve Price can't see the face in this image, can you?

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Was Mellaart really Sir James Mellaart?

James Mellaart is often referred to as Sir James Mellaart. I decided who would know better than the British Academy. here is Melaart's record at the academy.  They use "Mr" to describe him.
James Mellaart at Catalhuyuk
James Mellaart at Catalhuyuk
British Academy Fellows
Record for: MELLAART, Mr James
Post: Formerly Lecturer in Anatolian Archaeology, Institute of Archaeology, London
Specialisms: Archaeology
Lecturer in Anatolian Archaeology Institute of Archaeology (1964-1991)
Principal publications:
The Calcolithic and early Bronze Ages in the Near East and Anatolia, 1966
Çatal Hüyük, a neolithic town in Anatolia, 1967
The neolithic of the Near East, 1975
Earliest civilizations of the Near East, 1965
Elected to the Fellowship: 1980 § 10

I was thinking about Mellaart when I saw this image. Because of the Mellaart fraud large numbers of othewise reasonable people became enchanted with the so-called Mother Goddess worship.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Why Paint a Rug - Painted Sarouk Rugs

Why Paint a Rug - Painted Sarouk Rugs

In rugs for the decorative market color is everything. So what do you do if a rug is the wrong color. With Sarouk rugs they dyed them to a more saleable color. In the picture below the Painted Sarouk rug had an orange red field but was dyed to the blue/red in the image. Why? Because American homes predominantly used dark mahogany furniture and this was the color that went best with it.

Don't forget to read American Sarouk - Painted Beauty by Lynn Tall

1920's Sarouk Carpet
Sarouk is the name of a village but it also has become the name of a grade of rug from that area. Trade names for the rugs of the Sarouk region include: FeraghanFeraghan SaroukMahal, Mohajaran Sarouk, Mushkabad (now called Mahal) and Viss/Golpayegan Rugs . On this page I am focusing on the American Sarouk.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Price Turkotek and the Mystery of the Tappet

Andrew Krawiec who I do not know posted:
Hi Rich and Phil, Here is one from the Spongobongo site at (Link to a page containing advertising deleted. Steve Price) which has the Saloresque guls of pretty much the same design as one of Phil's. But it also has those Barmak borders enclosing the end panels.

JBOC has a curious comment below the image, 'JBOC Notes: I have a thought that I am working on that the use of a Tappet guard border is an indication of a Persian origin.'. Does anyone know what he means by 'Tappet' and did he ever explore the idea that they indicate Persian origin further to anyone's knowledge?

It was listed for auction as Tekke around 1900.


Steve Price replied that “I have no idea what tappets are within the context of rug motifs.“ 
I am not really surprised. I got that from the late Charles Grant Ellis. CharlieEllis was the great Oriental Rug Expert of the 2nd half of the 20th century. Charlie used Tappet in the footnotes of one of his books. In Ellis’ work the text was pretty good but all the real meat was in the footnotes.

So tappet is just another term for the Barmak border. It is an old fashioned and fairly obscure expression but it was many years ago that I wrote that and it was what I was thinking at the time. Think of each finger of the Barmak as a tappet.

A tappet is the 5 sided or peaked element that is used like a row of tiny yurts to frame the field and as an inner guard border and so on. If you didn’t pay attention to Charlie Ellis’ footnotes you probably would not know that.  

As for barmak border indicating a Persian origin. I still have a suspicion that barmak is used frequently in Iranian Yomud weaving but it is not enough to be a useful attribution marker. 

Chuck Wagner's Bag on Turkotek

Chuck Wagner is one of the more interesting collectors on Turkotek. He recently posted this bag on Turkotek (http://www.turkotek.com/VB37/showthread.php?t=1382&page=2) and called it Baluch citing the  Koneiczny book.

Chuck may well be right but I noticed a little something about the tassels. If the bag is Baluch the tassels by implication are also Baluch work. They are extremely similar to the tassels on this Mashwanni Bridal Mafrash

There are people called Mashwanni  who weave the black Afghan rugs and bags. perhaps they are Baluch. I have never clear about exactly who those people are. But Mashwanni  were written about in the Baburnama which dates to the very early 16th century.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Antique serapi Heriz Rug Persian Carpet

Antique Serapi Heriz Rug Persian Carpet

Antique Serapi Heriz Rug 7.5 by 17.5 feet Persian Carpet from www.HeratOrientalRugs.com warehouse Alexandria Va